Friday, July 22, 2011

My McDonald's Experience

Yesterday, I actually stepped foot in a McDonald's Restaurant! Anyone who knows me, knows I am anti-FAST FOOD. I detest it!  I don't go as far as standing outside the establishments picketing or dissuading customers from entering the doorway to hell. I do encourage everyone I know to avoid such foods and one the first things I tell my clients is: "those Biggie-Size meals have got to go!"

 Unfortunately, my folks love fast food. They can order dinner from the dollar menu for five dollars between the two of them. They are on a fixed income and their days are consumed with visits to the doctor (which happens to be right near a McDonald's) so they always stop to get a little something. When people are on a strict budget, it's very hard to break them of the fast-food habit. My mom believes it's okay as long as they order a chicken sandwich instead of a burger. There's no way I can convince either of them how unhealthy this food is. Chicken sandwich or burger?  It doesn't matter. It's all bad.  I am fighting a constant losing battle. It's fast, it's good, it's cheap and they can afford to finish off their meal with an ice cream. Why not? It's only a dollar!

So, yesterday we had time to kill between doctor appointments and my dad wanted ice cream. I walked into McDonald's aka The Forbidden Zone, glancing around nervously. How on earth would I explain my being there should I bump into a client?  I sat beside my folks as they enjoyed their one dollar vanilla ice cream cones and a large order of  fries. Okay, I confess, I might have sampled a couple of french fries but have you seen the size of what McDonald's calls large? ENORMOUS, is more like it. One serving could feed five people.  And the ice cream, while it was probably very refreshing on such a hot day, just looked heavy and artificial to me so I chose not to indulge.

Here's what I saw as I sat in that McDonald's Restaurant.  It was lunch-time and customer after customer poured in and ordered Quarter Pounders, large fries and large soft-drinks. I know they sell salads there, but I did not see a single person eating one. It was burgers and fries. Or chicken nuggets. Frazzled, over-heated moms came in looking for a nice, cool place to bring the kids for awhile. And the children! I sat right near the door and the ear to ear grins on these kids' faces the moment they walked in was unbelievable. You would think they just arrived at Disney World. Jumping up and down, giggling and excited over a hamburger and french fries! What is it about this place that evokes such joy?

I love to see happy children but yesterday I felt so sad. McDonald's. What a racket. What a set-up! Kids becoming fast-food converts for life. Nothing else will ever taste as good. If they continue to eat food like this, they will become victims of obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol and even diabetes. Not to mention, high blood pressure from all that salt. That would be the day I would try to make my children or grandchildren happy by suggesting a trip to McDonald's.  Not even for a dollar ice cream cone!

By the way, take a look at the ingredients in McDonald's Ice Cream:

Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream: Milk, sugar, cream, nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum, vitamin A palmitate.

And the cone it comes in:

Ice Cream Cone: Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), tapioca starch, sugar, shortening [soybean oil, palm oil, soy lecithin (emulsifier)], leavening (baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate), salt, natural flavor (plant source), annatto (color), caramel color, corn syrup (processing aid).

YUCK!!! Do you really want to put this stuff in YOUR body? Or feed it to your children?

As far as I am concerned, fast food establishments like McDonald's are no better than the drug pushers on the corner, seducing our children until they are hooked for life.

I know. I am so dramatic and such a kill-joy, but hear me out. I am not against burgers, fries, ice cream or any kind of food.  I am against fake, processed, packaged, artificial, chemical laden, salt-cured, assembly-line produced garbage being passed off as food! I wish everyone could be a vegetarian like me, but I know that's simply not possible. However, if I can influence you to be mindful of the types of food you put into your body and what you feed your family, I can rest a little easier.

I understand the appeal, the convenience and the addiction of fast food. Some people actually need to withdraw from it slowly because it is such a habit and REAL food no longer tastes good to them. And I know it's quick and it's cheap. If you absolutely MUST have McDonald's, (or find yourself there against your will) here is a list of all their food and ingredients. Hopefully, after you see what they are really serving, you will never step foot in a McDonald's again!

McDonald's Ingredients List

My advice: eat REAL food. What you can get at McDonald's, you can better at make at home.  You know what's in it because you prepared it. Grill up your own burgers or veggie burgers and pile them high with all kinds of delicious, wholesome toppings and condiments. Have a Create Your Own Burger Night with your family. Bring home REAL ice cream (Aldens Organic Ice Cream is delicious). Or make your own ice cream. Serve it with REAL chocolate sauce, fresh cherries, strawberries or bananas and fresh whipped cream.  I know this all takes time and makes a mess.  It's so much easier to race through the fast food drive-thru. But the fun is in the preparation and the mess!  The smiles, laughter, excitement and the confidence in knowing you are serving wholesome, healthier options will be so worth it.

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

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